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Home > Projects > MOOCs > Learning in a MOOC

Learning in an open online course

How to sign-up


Visit: www.coursera.org

  • Search for the course you want to take: www.coursera.org/uct
  • Use your email to sign up for a new account or log in if you have an account.
  • You will be offered two options – to pay for a certificate or to enrol for the full course with no certificate, taking the course for free or auditing the course.
  • If you want to work towards a certificate and cannot afford the fee, you can apply for financial aid by completing an online motivation.

Start learning!


Visit: www.futurelearn.com

  • Search for the course you want to take: www.futurelearn.com/partners/university-of-cape-town
  • Use your email to sign up for a new account or log in if you have an account.
  • You will be offered two options –  join the course for free or pay to upgrade which will give you access to tests and the opportunity to earn a certificate of achievement.

Start learning!   

Why take a MOOC?

People take MOOCs for many different reasons. As a student, you may want to take a MOOC to ‘test the waters’ and gauge your own interest in a course you’re thinking of registering for. Alternatively, you may feel like your degree programme is ‘missing’ a crucial subject that would stand you in good stead in the world of work – and that this course is being offered through a MOOC.

Professionals also take MOOCs to sharpen or update their skills in their own discipline or to learn about new disciplines or developments that they are interested in.

There are so many courses to choose from you may decide to take a course just for your own interest - like learning a language or a course on history.

Where can I find more MOOCs?

There are hundreds of courses on offer from universities and organisations around the world. You could start looking by visiting Class Central which is a website which collects lists of courses and how to access them (like a MOOC directory).

Details about the UCT created MOOCs are posted on the UCT MOOCs: Free Online Courses page.

What is it like taking a MOOC?

MOOCs are designed for self-motivated people, so in a sense you are the architect of your own experience. Unlike being enrolled as a registered student in an online or campus-based courses, MOOCs have no entry requirements nor do they cost the student anything in monetary terms. This gives you the opportunity to browse around and look at a few courses so you'll find many students will drop out or not even show up. Remember though that being a 'drop-out' in a MOOC does not have the same consequences or implications to that of a formal course. This more flexible approach to learning can be challenging for many students to keep on track, but tools and suggested pathways in MOOCs can help you decide on the level of engagement and on how you can get what you need out of the learning opportunity.

While there are reminders to move you through the course, there is no obligation to complete the assignments if you do not wish to obtain a verified certificate of attainment. Due to the numbers of enrolled students (hence the term "Massive"), there is little direct teacher presence in a MOOC and you can't expect to get individual feedback. However, MOOCs offer opportunities for engaging in discussions with other students, many of whom will be experts while the course educators and teaching team often keep a roving eye on the course and students as they progress through the MOOC. You'll find assessments can help keep you on track; these include quizzes, writing assignments and peer review exercises where you get peer feedback and give feedback to others in return.

Do MOOCs offer academic credit?

MOOCs are not credit-bearing, formal degree courses. However, for some MOOCs, students will be eligible for Certificates of Participation or Attainment, which they can use to augment their CVs to demonstrate participation and competence in a topic. Depending on the course and the provider, there may be a fee for a certificate. Many people around the world are using MOOCs for lifelong learning opportunities, and the use of MOOC certificates on CVs and online profiles has become increasingly common.